Ending Miscarriage Misconceptions

It’s an unfortunate — and often, unspoken about — reality. As many as 25 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies end in a miscarriage.

“It’s very common for women to find out after they’ve had a miscarriage of their own that women close to them have had one, too,” says Christina Dooley, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., OB/GYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton. “Unfortunately, though, miscarriage is not something people talk about freely. For many, it’s a very personal and sad situation they don’t want to discuss with others.”

Many women may also have a type of miscarriage called a chemical pregnancy, when the pregnancy is lost so close to implantation that a woman may not realize she has conceived before she loses the pregnancy.

Why Do Miscarriages Happen?

For many cases of miscarriage, the exact cause is unknown. In the first trimester, most miscarriages are due to a chromosomal abnormality.

“Many miscarriages occur when the fetus is not developing correctly, and the body recognizes this and stops the pregnancy,” Dr. Dooley says. “It’s never a patient’s fault when miscarriage happens. The reality is that miscarriage is a part of nature, although there are things we can do to minimize the risk of it happening.”

What Happens Physically During a Miscarriage?

“The physical symptoms of miscarriage, and how quickly it takes the miscarriage to complete, vary from woman to woman,” Dr. Dooley says. “In some cases, it’s a fast process, while in others, bleeding can last for as long as a month. Many patients can complete this process naturally, but medications or a procedure are also available to complete the process. It all depends on what’s best for the patient and her body.”

What Are Strategies for Coping with the Emotional Impact of Miscarriage?

For many women, the first step is talking with your physician.

“I always give patients my support and let them know I’m here as a resource,” Dr. Dooley says. “Patients are devastated in the office when they learn they’ve miscarried, then realize when they get home that they still have a lot of questions or concerns. I always welcome my patients to give me a call or come back for another visit.”

Miscarriage can be a private, personal experience, but many women find that sharing their loss with others can help. Men should also give themselves space to grieve the loss of a pregnancy. One or both partners may wish to seek support from a counselor.

“If we use each other for support, then we can help each other, too,” Dr. Dooley says. “There are a lot of resources out there for families who have been through this situation — no one should feel lonely or like they don’t have any help.”

To find a Texas Health OB/GYN for pregnancy information, visit TexasHealth.org.

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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